Tech News

VTech Gets Hacked, Apple Hates Headphone Jacks… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 01-12-2015

Hackers expose VTech users, Apple considers removing the headphone jack, Christmas lights can slow down your Wi-Fi, Snapchat gets into bed with (RED), and remembering The Star Wars Holiday Special.


VTech Hack Exposes Parents and Children

The Hong Kong-based toy manufacturer VTech has been hacked, with the personal details of up to 5 million people having been stolen from its servers.

According to Motherboard, images of parents and children, and chat logs between them, were also accessed during the hack. The personal details stolen include names, email addresses, home addresses, and passwords.

The hack occurred on November 14, and the company announced what had happened on Friday (Nov. 27). After conducting an investigation, VTech publicly revealed some details of the hack, but the hacker has revealed more since, detailing how they used an SQL injection What Is An SQL Injection? [MakeUseOf Explains] The world of Internet security is plagued with open ports, backdoors, security holes, Trojans, worms, firewall vulnerabilities and a slew of other issues that keep us all on our toes every day. For private users,... Read More to gain root access to the VTech servers.

In light of the severity of this breach, VTech has suspended its Learning Lodge app store, and various websites associated with it. The company has also reached out to everybody on the affected database warning them their details may have been exposed.


Fortunately, no payment information was stored on the breached servers, which should provide some comfort to those affected. Not that having your children’s right to privacy 10 Social Mobile Apps That Breach Your Teenager's Privacy Your children have become proto-adults, beginning to grow up. Like their friends, they spend a lot of time using smartphones, tablets and computers in a way you could only dream of. Read More taken away from them is anything to celebrate.

Apple to Kill the Headphone Jack?

Apple is thought to be planning to remove the headphone jack from the next iPhone. According to Japanese blog Macotakara, the company wants to get rid of the headphone jack in order to make the new iPhone thinner and lighter.

If true, this would make the Lightning port the only option for those using wired headphones. Which is still the majority of people. Thankfully, Apple has a solution… shipping EarPods that connect through the Lightning port. Oh.

This is bad news. Apple EarPods are widely regarded as being uncomfortable to wear, and they offer poor sound quality when compared to better brands and models. So forcing people to use EarPods (or other Lightning headphones) is bound to cause consternation.


Apple appears to have an ideological obsession with removing any unnecessary elements from its products. But it’s getting to the point when this ideology is adversely affecting its customers Should the New MacBook's Single Port Scare You Away? Apple recently revealed the new MacBook, and it's a jaw-dropper — but it also has only a single port. Was this a blunder, or a sign of the future? Read More . In other words, removing the headphone jack would make the iPhone worse, not better.

Christmas Lights Slow Down Your Wi-Fi

Ofcom, the British communications regulator, has a warning for you… those Christmas lights you’re so lovingly draping from every corner of your house can slow down your Wi-Fi.

This warning came as Ofcom released an app that checks how your wireless Internet connection is flowing Wireless Feng Shui: How to Optimize Wi-Fi Reception in Your House Setting up a Wi-Fi router for optimum coverage isn't as easy as you think. Use these tips to cover your whole house with Wi-Fi! Read More around your home. And it claims that anything from baby monitors to microwave ovens can adversely affect the quality of signal.

This may well be the case, but very few people are going to ditch their microwave, trash their Christmas lights, or opt not to hear their baby sleeping in order to be able to read Reddit in bed. So, Ofcom, thanks for the warning, but we’ll take our chances.


Snapchat Selfies Raise Money for Charity

Today is World AIDS Day, designed to show support and raise money for people living with HIV and AIDS. To mark the occasion, Snapchat is offering three new (RED) photo filters, (RED) being the AIDS charity backed by Bono from U2.

For today only, every time a user sends a Snapchat 7 Reasons Snapchat is a Teenager's Favourite Social Network The latest craze amongst the adults of the future is the secretive photo-sharing service Snapchat. Why do they love it? Read More snap taken with one of these (RED) filters, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will donate $3 to (RED), up to a maximum of $3 million. Which equates to 1 million users in the space of 24 hours. We can do that, can’t we?

Celebrating The Star Wars Holiday Special

And finally, The Star Wars Holiday Special is legendary at this point in time. Mostly for its awfulness, with a terrible plot, crappy special effects, and some of the worst acting ever shown on TV. However, perhaps it’s time to celebrate The Star Wars Holiday Special.

This trailer is a good starting point, as it’s a mashup of The Star Wars Holiday Special and the trailer for The Force Awakens. It’s not quite enough to tempt me to sit through the whole thing, but I guess it gives me an option if I get really bored over Christmas. [H/T CNET]


Your Views on Today’s Tech News

How do you feel about the VTech hack? Are you for or against Apple removing the headphone jack? Are you surprised that Christmas lights can slow down your Wi-Fi? Will you be sending a Snapchat selfie today? Have you ever watched The Star Wars Holiday Special?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credits: Tom Page via Flickr

Related topics: Christmas, Hacking, Headphones, Snapchat, Star Wars, Wi-Fi.

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  1. Leah
    December 1, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    How many people do you know using wireless earphones? Why doesn't Apple wait until they become popular before doing away with the headphone jack? Good thing I don't use Apple.